On Wednesday, July 6th, at approximately 11:30 am, the Southern Park County Fire Protection District was called out for a large column of smoke on the south side of Baldy Mountain and SPCFPD responded with two type-6 engines, two 4000 gallon water tenders and an ambulance.
According to Chief Gene Stanley, it took almost two hours to locate and drive close to the scene of the fire with the help of some air support from the Forest Service.
Baldy Mountain is in a chain of three mountains southwest of Guffey, 31-Mile Mountain, Baldy and Hammond Peak, all about 10,000 feet or more in elevation, which are almost on the Fremont/Park county line in very rough terrain and limited access.
The fire, which was burning in grass, brush and duff under the pine trees, consumed several acres and apparently started by a lightning strike, was on a ridge above Mill Gulch on the southeast flank of Baldy Mountain on Bureau of Land Management land. The closest structures were a mile or more away and were not threatened, although the conditions were windy and extremely dry according to Stanley.
Since the fire was on federal land and conditions were so dry, the Forest Service responded with two single engine air tankers (SEATs), one helicopter, one 20-person hot shot crew, eight smoke jumpers, and one type-6 engine. BLM responded with one type-6 engine.
The SPCFPD provided the water supply on the ground for the fire, and Stanley said it took 9,000 gallons of water to contain the fire and do mop-up the next day, and that’s not counting any air drops the SEATs or the helicopter dropped.
Note: Writer Flip Boettcher is on the board of directors of the Southern Park County Fire Protection District.